“You have the capacity for great joy, for great love, but it is secreted away inside you, protected by many stout walls..”.
Good evening to you all.
Have you noticed that though there may be many clothes in your wardrobe, there are always one or two items that you feel especially comfortable wearing, no matter how ragged, tatty or torn the garment may be. It’s comfortable and you feel happy wearing it, and you resist casting it aside. This is how it is with many of your beliefs and understandings, you are happy with them and you don’t want to change them because they are comfortable for you.
Do you remember those times when you wanted to swim in the sea, but when you went in, you found the water was cold, so cold that it was unpleasant, but you persisted and eventually you swam. Notice how quickly you become used to it, how quickly you become happy with what you were doing, enjoying yourself. Notice then how you may call to your friends who may be too scared to come in because of the coldness of the water. So much initial hesitation on your part, but how quickly you became accustomed to it. How quickly you accepted and relished in your new situation.
You were talking earlier about the barriers that each of you, no matter how pious, have erected around you. These barriers are like those friendly items of clothing that you are happy and comfortable wearing. You don’t really want to take them off, you feel content wearing them.
Have you ever been offered an article of clothing that was perhaps different from what you would normally buy for yourself, more colourful or perhaps a different style? You have chosen not to wear it, it is new. Perhaps a bit shocking. It is like immersing yourself in the sea, once you overcame the initial shock, you began to enjoy yourself and feel happy with the new situation, the new YOU.
It is perhaps a circuitous away around the subject of barriers, but we like to address things in a common sense way. You could imagine all the layers, the “barriers”, as articles of comfortable clothing, clothing that you are used to wearing.
To progress, fundamentally one has to change. Throughout all of earthly time, the creature that did not accept change, did not adapt and sadly did not survive and it became extinct. You have to change to survive and you have to change to progress. Your choosing to keep the “old jumper” on, does not in any way impact upon your survival friends. Your maintaining those old barriers however, does impact upon your progression. It also impacts upon your enjoyment. “Joy” in the word “enjoyment”, is the operative part of the word. You have the capacity for great joy, for great love, but it is secreted away inside you, protected by many stout walls.
If you were to consider yourself as a third party observer, watching somebody in the identical situation to yourself, would you not advise them to let the barriers go. It’s like looking at an X-Ray picture of a chestnut. You are seeing a sectional view, the kernel is deep inside the protective outer layer, but it is there never the less. Once free from this outer shell and given the right conditions, the chestnut seed can grow and flourish into a tall tree.
In an identical fashion, removing YOUR outer layer, and allowing YOUR individual self, your unique self, however you wish to view it, allowing that to come to the surface and flourish, will bring you endless joy.
To remove the barriers, firstly have to be aware of them, but very often, I would say to you almost universally, you are far more aware of the barrier of others and of their short comings or failings, than you are of your own. So I say to you, pay attention to your own house first, decide what is necessary, what to keep, and what to discard.
It is similar to when you are moving your earthly homes. Often you have to make decisions on what to keep and what to throw away. Very often the things thrown away will not be of use in your future home. I make no excuses in using the word “identically” again, because it is an identical situation with yourself.
Many of these old protective layers, these barriers, should be discarded. This will allow you to move on. The soul or the spirit, however you wish to view it, is the centre of your being. It is the core, it is that which makes you unique.
I will give you another analogy although I suspect you are becoming heartily sick of them, but I will give it to you any way. Does your car perform better when the brakes are half applied or when the brake is off? The answer is of course, that your car goes better when you don’t have the brakes applied.
Perhaps I am using a hammer to crack a small nut, but I try to give you mental images which may linger longer than a whole series of words. The car is YOU, the brakes are your barriers, take your foot off the brake and you will go forward faster.
Firstly, be aware of yourself. In all situations try and be aware of yourself, aware of what you are feeling. Do you feel nervous or upset, panicky or pleased in certain situations and why it is that you feel that way? Be introspective, by that I mean look inside.
Earlier you were discussing being truthful or untruthful. Truth and untruth are black and white, there is no shade of grey. There is the infamous white lie, but the white lie is untruth. But, you say, I can be less hurtful by not being honest. But far better to either be honest, or to keep your opinion to yourself. But be aware that there is no difference between what you say, what you think, and what you feel. If there is a difference, and you are saying one thing whilst feeling another, then there is dis-harmony, and you are storing up future problems for yourself. You should try to keep yourself in balance, and if you feel you are going to come into a situation that may result in the truth, hurting someone, then, if you feel you must, try to avoid that situation. If it is impossible to avoid, and you feel that you have to say something, then use your heart to decide what to say rather than your head. Be honest, it’s so much simpler.
In all things, wisdom and love must have an influencing effect, your being spiteful to another affects you more than the other person. It is like, to use an earthly expression, “scoring an own goal”. You are the person that is more deeply wounded; you will be the one bearing the scar.
I don’t want to sound too disheartening. I’m just saying to you; “here is a treasure map, “X” marks the crock of gold, but to get to it these are the things you must do, this is the direction in which you must travel”. The journey may not be simple, it may be arduous. If you want the crock of gold you have to experience the journey.
For all of you that journey is under way, because you have all realised that there is more to life than what is immediately apparent to your physical senses. Were that not to be true, you would not be here this evening, you would not be taking part in this service.
To be believable and acceptable to you, an idea or concept does not necessarily have to be tangible. God is intangible, but never-the-less you believe in him, that is a good start, but far more than YOU believing in God, please remember that God believes in YOU, and if you fall over or falter on that journey to the “crock of gold”, HE is there to pick you up. There is not a situation that you will find insurmountable. There is no wall in your pathway that you cannot climb over or walk around.
When the wise men were going towards Bethlehem for the birth of Jesus-the-Christ, they followed the bright star. To give you a pointer for YOUR journey, I would say walk ever God-wards, aim forever towards him.
I will leave you with these thoughts friends, please give them some time. I say God bless you all.
21/09/94 – Peter